Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season on Saturday, surpassing Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki for the most goals scored in a single English top-flight season by a Japanese player.
Brighton equalized three times in an entertaining 3-3 home draw with Brentford, which saw Mitoma scoring their first goal in the 21st minute. Mitoma, named the Man of the Match, ran behind the opposing backline to receive a long pass from keeper Jason Steele before lobbing the ball over advancing Brentford custodian David Raya.
Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma (R) scores during the first half of an English Premier League match against Brentford at Amex Stadium in Brighton on April 1, 2023. (Getty/Kyodo)
Kagawa scored six goals for Manchester United during the 2012-13 season, and Okazaki reached the same tally with Leicester in the 2017-18 campaign.
“It’s great to surpass them, but I can get a lot more,” said Mitoma. “It was a wonderful ball (from Steele), put on a plate for me to score.”
Brentford led through Pontus Jansson’s 10th-minute header, doing so again a minute after Mitoma’s leveler through Ivan Toney’s strike at Amex Stadium.
Danny Welbeck nodded in Brighton’s second in the 28th minute before the visitors went ahead once more four minutes after the break thanks to an Ethan Pinnock volley, but Alexis Mac Allister scored a 90th-minute penalty to salvage a point for the Seagulls.
Mitoma has now scored 10 goals in all competitions in his debut season in England.
“The team is set up in a way that wingers can function easily, and I’m expected to score,” he said, brushing off questions about the difficulties of his travel from Japan, where he played in two friendlies.
Mitoma scored in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Colombia in Osaka and said travel comes with the job.
“There are players (two Ecuador internationals) who have returned from playing in Australia. We have to manage these kinds of things,” he said.
Japan forward Ayase Ueda scored his 15th goal of the season in the Belgian top division, meanwhile, as Cercle Brugge beat Kortrijk 2-0 at home. Ueda converted a 36th-minute penalty to complete the scoring as he netted for the second straight match.
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